As I mentioned in my earlier post on How to run a great workshop, I tried out some new techniques at the CDG workshop I ran a few weeks ago. Now that I’ve had a little time to both reflect personally and to digest the feedback from attendees, I thought I’d share the things that worked well, the things that didn’t, and the main areas I’d like to improve on.


Workshop for CILIP CDG

Read the rest of this entry »

This review has been written for GearZap who sent me a complimentary sample product to test from their iPad Accessories.


Pocket Boom (next to iPhone for scale)

I have to be honest, I was very intrigued about the Pocket Boom. As someone who usually listens to music via headphones it’s not necessarily something I had a huge need for, but I did think it could come in handy when travelling (i.e. in hotel rooms). So what it is?

Well, it’s basically a portable speaker system but as the name suggests it’s pocket sized. It’s battery powered (needs 2xAAA) and connects to any standard headphone connection – I tested it out using my iPhone as this is what I usually use to listen to music. You just connect it to the device (in this case my iPhone), attach the other end to a solid surface, and turn the power on.


Pocket Boom setup (any excuse for some Electronic 80s Anthems!)

What makes it such a clever product is that you can attach it to pretty much any solid surface and it will amplify the music by vibration. Depending on the surface chosen it will result in a slightly different sound, and it’s good to experiment. It’s a sticky foam pad so should be able to stick to most surfaces, not just on horizontal surfaces. I quite like the sound produced when it’s attached to the side of one of our drawer units.


Pocket Boom stuck to side of drawer unit

One problem I do have with it is I get quite a lot of feedback from using my phone which is a pain. I also have to confess that despite having it for a couple of months now I keep forgetting to take it with my when I travel, so it’s clearly not yet become part of my essential travel kit. I’ll try to remember to take it with me the next couple of time and see if I use it. I wonder if it may also be a useful way to include music in my training sessions so will also give it a go for this next time I have opportunity to do so.

So would I recommend it? I probably would given the relatively low price point, though it’s not blown me away. It’s certainly an easy way to play music, and extremely portable. I’m by no means a music expert so I can’t really comment on the quality of the output but it’s certainly better than playing it through my iPhone speakers. It gets distorted when on full volume on my iPhone but that may be the fault of the iPhone (or the surface). It’s definitely a talking point too, and I can imagine it would be good fun at social gatherings.

Last week, I gave a seminar on ‘Managing yourself: how to be productive with your time’. I’d been invited by CILIP Career Development Group London and South East branches to deliver a session on this topic which expanded on my presentation from Internet Librarian International 2012 on Productivity for Librarians. The focus of this seminar was much more practical in nature so rather than just talking through some of the tools I use and the way I implement the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology, we went through each stage of the GTD methodology and considered how it could be implemented for each participant through individual activities, group activities, and discussion.

The slides are embedded below and available on Slideshare:

If you’re interested in learning more about anything in the presentation, please leave a comment if it’s something I might be able to help with, or I would recommend checking out the following resources:

  • Allen, D. (2001) Getting Things Done: How to achieve stress-free productivity. Piatkus.
  • Hines, S. (2010) Productivity for Librarians: How to get more done in less time. Oxford: Chandos Publishing.
  • Houghton-Jan, S. (2008) Being Wired or Being Tired: 10 Ways to Cope with Information Overload. Being Wired or Being Tired: 10 Ways to Cope with Information Overload. Ariadne [online]. Available at:
  • Maggio, R. (2009) The Art of Organizing Anything: Simple Principles for Organizing Your Home, Your Office, and Your Life. New York: McGraw Hill.
  • Osman, H. (2011) How to design the ultimate home office (e-book)
  • Lifehacker blog –